Joke or Deception.

This whole post may make me sound too sensitive or dramatic to some people. So to them, I apologize. Two days ago, I mentioned how ill I have been feeling recently. I also spoke about how I fell for a practical joke at work. Lately, dates have blended into one. I am not following what day it is as I am just desperate for the holiday. I didn’t even realize that it was April 1st (April Fool’s Day). So walking into work and reading the bulletin board seemed no different than any other day. I did not even question the letter placed on the wall describing the well known visitor coming to our school that day. It seemed plausible, something that was likely so why would I question it?

My bosses and colleagues were quick to laugh at me and my gullibility and yes, for a moment, it was funny. 

However, I have to be honest. I do not respond well to feeling deceived, joke or no joke. My abuser often played tricks on me, plotting against me and finding new ways to catch me out. Although, the practical joke at work was harmless fun and certainly not targeted at me, I couldn’t help but remember the old feelings my abuser left me with. 

I felt the joke was taken further when a colleague placed a letter in my pigeon hole. It was all very official but clearly another joke. This time that I had won the lottery. Someone had taken a lot of time to fool me. I put the letter away only skimming through part of it. Where did this person have the time to spend on such a detailed letter? Was my humiliation the hope from writing it? I did not acknowledge it and when the person later asked about it, I smiled politely shrugging off her question.

Yes, it was a joke and I am quite capable of laughing at myself. My friends tease me about my little idiosyncrasies, like the fact that I am a very slow eater and it is essential to always order before me in a restaurant. I can take a ribbing or two. I just don’t like the feeling that someone is laughing at my expense. I don’t like someone going out of their way to make me look the fool.

My abuser did that constantly. On one occasion, at a party held at the house, my father confronted me in the kitchen. I was bringing down my empty dinner plate (I used to eat my food in my bedroom). He challenged me before I left, demanding a reason as to why I hadn’t cooked anything for his guests. It was like a back handed compliment. He was (in a way) complimenting my cooking skills but pairing it with a lecture on how thoughtless I was. It didn’t help that his friends followed him in and watched my humiliation. The looked on as he berated my insensitivity and selfishness. They laughed with him when he joked that this was my nature. He was clearly drunk and actually denied the incident the next day. I had done nothing to ‘upset’ him earlier so it was completely out of the blue.

My abuser always laughed when I failed. He found hilarity in my failures. Even a misunderstanding of words would be a reason to ridicule me. I was illiterate and totally ignorant to him.

These things stick with you. Perhaps I will always remain sensitive to jokes.

22nd August 2012 – The funeral home.

Sorry this post has been delayed, what with moving this week, it has all been a bit chaotic but I can finally return to the story of my father’s death last summer.

During the day of my father’s death, I received a text from my brother in-law detailing the plan to meet together the next day at the funeral home to discuss arrangements for my father’s funeral. It was all still very raw and as I had spent most of the morning feeling overjoyed and released, it came as a surprise that I needed or that they wanted me to be there. Perhaps they were his wishes.

I did not want to go.

It wasn’t local, instead near my father’s church in a part of London that only reminded me of him. I didn’t want to be anywhere that reminded me of him. He was no longer here, let me mourn, grieve and most of all – move on. The funeral was not something I really wanted a part of. However, as my sister was organizing it, curiosity got the better of me.

In the last few weeks of my father’s illness, it had been revealed that my father had made my sister executor of his will. It was a deed he had once forced upon me several years back when I was living with him.

I remember being called to his bedroom one day to find a heap of papers laid out with a pen beside them.

“Sign it,” he ordered without even a glance in my direction.

“What is it?”

“Don’t question me, rude! It’s to be the executor of my will. Sign it. Someone needs to do it.” His gaze centred on me, “Why are you being difficult?”

It was futile trying to reason with him. I had crossed the line and dared to question my father. I was causing conflict in a simple situation. There was one problem though, I did not want to be executor of his will. I did not want that sort of thing put upon me. I didn’t want to have to deal with him even after his death. Could I voice this? Of course not. So, I had no choice. I picked up the pen and without any knowledge of what I was signing, my name began to appear on the lines he was pointing to.

I never heard about it again. He clearly thought he’d never die.

The next time I would hear it would be the moment I found out he had drawn up a new will. One that my sister was now executor of. I had been dropped in place of the prodigal daughter. She, unlike me, was happy to take on her new role. She enjoyed control and power much like my father. They were the same in almost every way.

At the funeral home, my sister took charge. I was horrified to find out that they had invited a woman along. A woman who was a friend of my father’s but in the situation that it was, it seemed inappropriate for her to be there. They weren’t confidantes, he never saw women like that. In fact, this was a woman he had taken great pleasure in criticizing over the years. A woman that I have heard some appalling things about from my father’s mouth. He was disgusting. The way he spoke of his so-called friends was shocking. It felt odd to see someone I knew irritated him at the funeral home the day after he died.

She seemed devastated. Why wouldn’t she be? My father may have insulted her behind her back but to the outside world he treated her like his daughter. Her child even called him “Uncle”. He was worshiped and respected by many and my sister – his new found disciple – did not want others to see him in any other light.

I sat and watched as the three of them took charge.

I sat back.

I was only there to show face.

My mind was elsewhere and judging by the strangeness of the day, I was anticipating the upcoming funeral.

I was right to be worried.